Greek barber shop customers respond to EU bailout

Greek barber shop customers respond to EU bailout

A cut-throat razor clicks open. Sharp metal cuts through wet bristle.

“All the people who come here, they are cursing Tsipras,” says Giorgos (who didn’t want to give his family name), running the blade deftly down his customer’s neck. “He promised all of these things but he didn’t follow through. Now Greece has more debt than before and the people are angry.”

We’d come to Koypeion, an old-school barber shop in the Plaka district of Athens to gauge reaction to the Greek government’s decision to give in to the country’s creditors to avoid being forced out of the euro.

Giorgos, a slight man in his 70s, says many of his punters feel betrayed.

“Our pensions have already been cut to 600 euros. What’s going to happen now?” he asks. “If this continues, the people will go hungry. There will be a civil war.”

Aris Karatzas, a retired professor of history who spent much of his working life in North America, says he felt a “tempered sense of relief” that a deal had finally been done. His concern now, was whether the SYRIZA government can succeed in growing the economy. The left-wing party, he says, is “ideologically not attuned to the way one creates wealth.”

Waiting patiently for a haircut, another customer, who didn’t want to be named, said he was “furious” with the government’s failure to secure a better deal. “SYRIZA gambled, and they lost,” he said. “Everything the creditors wanted from us, they got.”